Highlights from the work you helped make possible in 2016 — and what’s next
When the nation comes together on August 25 to recognize the National Park Service’s 100th birthday, the National Parks Conservation Association will have brought together more than 35,000 supporters at 100 events during the centennial year to experience and take action in support of the parks.
Even though the centennial is just days away, our work to help the parks is far from done. Many of these important projects lay the groundwork for more improvements in the years to come, and all of our beloved parks need regular care — and people to care for them.
Some of the highlights of the Find Your Voice initiative in 2016 have included:
- Leading a volunteer conservation effort to plant a Centennial Forest of 100,000 longleaf pine trees at Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas.
Video © NPCA.
- Removing more than 10,000 pounds of debris to help restore the waters and wetlands of the national parks of the Chesapeake in the Mid-Atlantic, Gateway National Recreation Area in New York, Mississippi National River & Recreation Area in Minnesota, and Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina.
- Joining the White House to support the launch of the Every Kid in a Park campaign connecting 1 million kids with national parks and public lands.
- Organizing an entire urban community to plant 500 native plants throughout Pullman National Monument in Chicago to support habitat for pollinators like butterflies, bees and birds.
Video © NPCA.
- Inspiring more than 20,000 youth and their families to participate in citizen science and explore the national parks of Texas, the National Mall in Washington, DC, First State National Historical Park in Delaware, Arches National Park in Utah and Biscayne National Park in Florida.
Video © NPCA.
- Hosting events in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle and San Francisco in support of a Stonewall National Monument, which, along with over 26,000 petition signatures, helped successfully advocate for the country’s first national monument dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history.
- Beginning work to replace 10 camping platforms used by thousands of school children each year at Everglades National Park, under the volunteer leadership of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Engaging over 100 bicyclists to “Bike the Rim” in support of expanding Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to preserve historic and cultural sites, critical wildlife corridors, and places for people to connect with the outdoors.
- Removing or modifying over 3.5 miles of fencing that had created barriers to open migration paths for pronghorn antelope and other wildlife within the greater Yellowstone region.
There will be more to do after August 25. NPCA has been advocating for strong, healthy parks alongside the National Park Service for more than 97 years, and we’re not slowing down now.
Through the remainder of the year, we’ll advocate for a sustainable Every Kid in a Park program that makes national parks more accessible to kids and families for years to come. We’ll continue to push for a bipartisan National Parks Centennial Act that invests in parks to better prepare them for the next 100 years of visitors. And we’ll continue to urge advocates to speak up for parks as we organize on-the-ground projects from California’s Santa Monica Mountains to New York’s Jamaica Bay.
We cannot do this work alone. We’ll need volunteers to help with projects that make urban parks more accessible, and that defend clean air, preserved land and healthy waters necessary for protected landscapes and wildlife. And with your help, we’ll continue to ensure that the National Park System includes sites that represents America’s rich diversity and tells the stories of all Americans.
Let’s build on the great work we’ve done over the past year and help define the next 100 years for the national parks. Whether it’s encroaching development, climate change or the fight for adequate funding, the challenges facing America’s national parks require grassroots advocates to ensure that they are protected for generations to come.
About the author
Edward Stierli Senior Regional Director, Mid-Atlantic
Ed serves as Senior Director in the Mid-Atlantic region, overseeing NPCA’s activities in five states and the District of Columbia.